Arsene Wenger has insisted the FA Cup remains a top priority for the club as they prepare to face Championship side Preston at Deepdale on Saturday.
The Gunners are set to make several changes for the game with Laurent Koscielny and Alexis Sanchez rested while Francis Coquelin and Mesut Ozil are out through injury and illness.
However, Wenger says his side will be taking the competition seriously as they aim to lift the trophy for the 13th time.
“It is a big priority for us. We have shown historically that we care about it, and it is a massive competition for everybody,” Wenger said via Arsenal’s official website.
“To win the FA Cup is always a target each year. We know as well that after a congested Christmas period that the third round is always a tricky game.
“That is why I believe it is a mental challenge for the Premier League teams to prepare well and not have a bad surprise – especially when you go to a Championship team, as it is always difficult.”
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Arsenal lifted the trophy in 2014 and 2015 before being knocked out by Watford at the quarter-finals last season and Wenger says it remains a special tournament.
“It’s a debate every year [about how special the FA Cup is]. I personally have no special solution but when April and May comes and teams go to Wembley, it’s something special. In January, people do not really know if they can win it or not,” he added.
“It’s a special occasion, a special trophy and in every single country, everybody dies to win the cup. I believe it’s still the same in England. Maybe in the past it was even more important because the European Cup wasn’t as important, but it’s a special occasion for me.”
Arsenal have enjoyed the FA Cup in recent seasons and will be hot favourites to progress to the fourth round against a Preston side currently 11th in the Championship.